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Long-Term Distributed Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Tinnitus: A Feasibility Study.
To assess feasibility and tolerability of long-term distributed therapeutic rTMS for refractory tinnitus, distributed over seven months.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Eight subjects with refractory tinnitus underwent five weekly sessions of 1800 pulses of 1 Hz rTMS targeted toward the temporoparietal junction. Five weeks later (study week 10), subjects meeting predefined responder criteria entered a monthly rTMS treatment phase, for the next five months. Outcome measures were subject satisfaction and compliance, tinnitus severity daily diaries, standardized tinnitus self-rating scales, and adverse events.
Subject satisfaction was high, and compliance was virtually 100%. The tinnitus handicap inventory and mini-tinnitus questionnaire scores improved significantly at study week 5 compared with baseline. There were four responders at study week 5; three responders at study week 10; and one responder at study week 30. There were no serious adverse events.
Our study demonstrated that rTMS can be delivered in a distributed schedule that is well-tolerated, feasible and may prove to be clinically beneficial. A long-term distributed rTMS schedule for tinnitus may warrant investigation as an alternative to the short-term aggregated treatment schedules more frequently used previously. For the many varied therapeutic uses of rTMS (established and investigational), treatment schedules are relatively unexplored, and deserve further attention.